Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Naked Werewolf, An Iron Queen, Victorian Vampires and A Quest Fantasy

The Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf
Molly Harper
Pocket, $7.99
ISBN: 9781439195871

Near Grundy, Alaska, the local werewolf pack enjoys howling at the moon. However, they wisely know to hide their instincts from the nearby human population.

Researcher Nick Thatcher comes to Grundy to investigate rumors of werewolf activity in the area. Pack alpha Maggie Graham knows how important it is to hide their existence from that other species is so decides she must run the outsider out of the Grundy vicinity. She decides to take a butt bite to drive him away as she has enough on her paws preventing a war with a rival pack. However, Nick has a new more important reason for remaining in Grundy; he is cultivating The Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf.

The second Naked Werewolf Alaskan romantic fantasy (see How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf) is an engaging tale with the freshness coming from the wise female Alpha who can kick male butt (human and werewolf). The story line is fast-paced as Maggie knows the timing of finding her mate, albeit a purebred human, is terrible as she has to deal with Alpha Clay and his pack invading her turf. Fans will enjoy the beat researcher and the alpha pack leader falling in love in the Last frontier.
Harriet Klausner

The Iron Queen
Julie Kagawa
Harlequin Teen, $9.99
ISBN: 9780373210183

Almost seventeen Meghan Chase may have defeated the Iron King Machina Meghan but as a half-breed most of the Fey want her to return permanently to the human realm rather remain in the Seelie Summer Court of her father King Oberon. The Fey get their wish when she is banished from Nevernever for refusing to give up her lover Prince Ash of the Unseelie Winter Court. He joins her in exile though she worries about his adapting to the mortal plane while she considers whether to attend ITT after her adventures in wonderland.

At what she considered her former home before her banishment, the Iron Spider Hags attack them while Robin “Puck” Goodfellow joins them since he has been exiled too due to wanting to visit his friends. Soon after the reunion, her sire and Queen Mab demand the star-crossed lovers return to Nevernever as the threat from the Iron King has reached a distinct point of annihilation of the Fey. They want Megan to kill their enemy and defeat his horde before the Fey become extinct.

The third Iron Fey fantasy (see The Iron King and The Iron Daughter) is a terrific entry in which the overarching theme moves forward at the same that the audience learns much more as to what make each of the key lead trio ticks while the overarching theme moves forward. Once again the key player is Meghan who is getting an education on Fey politics, family and love as she is bright back to the court that banished her in ought to battle an enemy in mortal combat. Harriet Klausner

Immortal with a Kiss
Jacqueline Lepore
Avon, $13.99
ISBN: 9780061878152

In 1862 Sebastian Dulwich asks his friend Emma Andrews, a vampire hunting Dhampir, to leave Copenhagen where she is studying the information on her undead enemies to head to the Lake District because an evil predator is attacking students at the same girls' school Blackbrier School for girls that her mother attended. She assumes she will hunt a vampire while she knows she will seek clues to her heritage.

Emma arrives and interviews the “coven girls”. She comes away from her interrogations with the conclusion a vampire has mesmerized the coeds and will soon dine on them if not stopped. However, as she digs deeper with the support of her comrades (Sebastian, Father Luke and Valerian Fox) Emma and her loyal teammates learn of a malevolence who she fears is the ancient dark Goddess Cyprian Queen.

The second Emma Victorian vampire gothic (see Descent Into Dust) is a terrific entry as the reader learns more about the heroine’s roots inside an exciting thriller in which the era comes alive through the strict code of conduct at the school. Ironically the audience knows who the villain is even with the predator pretending to be a sheep hiding amidst the herd. Although the climax seems a bit rushed, fans will enjoy this engaging historical horror fantasy due to courageous Emma fun investigation into the realm of the bloodsuckers. Harriet Klausner

Black Halo
Sam Sykes
PYR, $16.00
ISBN: 9781616143558

Lenk the Swordsman and his dysfunctional band of mercenaries (Kataria, Dreadaleon, Denaos, Asper and Gariath) succeeded in retrieving the Tome of the Undergates. They now sail for home to insure the Kraken Queen Ulbecetonth cannot obtain the dangerous relic by giving it to their current employer Miron for safekeeping. As the sea voyage takes forever, tension between the former six allies goes stratospheric. Thus, when disaster strikes as an Akaneed attacks their ship, each reaches land on their own.

On a seemingly deserted island, the six are separated and apparently stranded. Each is unsure they want to team up again with the others though logically they know that is the only way to go home. Even when they see the eerie remains of war dead and encounter a philosophy spouting monkey, the obstinate teammates fail to unite.

The second Aeons’ Gate quest fantasy is an enjoyable tale due to the split up of the gang of six, which is not shocking, as they despised each other even fore they set off on their previous adventure (see Tome of the Undergates); close quarters at sea enhanced this loathing. Thus readers get to know watch of the sextet that much more as for a while they have solo escapades. Although the overarching theme feels as if it has been detoured, Black Halo is an entertaining thriller in which sub-genre readers will relish taking the roundabout way home with this argumentative six. Harriet Klausner

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